Monday, August 31

Falling slowly.

It's getting old. It's been almost 7 weeks of bald headedness for this girl...and I'll be honest, I want hair back. Easy enough right? Grow it back...big deal. Yet, inside it's far more complicated. I'm sticking it out with Katie bug because this is my way of sacrificing for her. I pray more, I am humbled often, and I need this. However, I am struggling big time.

This small struggle is still teaching me. I can just grow my hair back in a matter of months as soon as I decide to stop buzzing it.1 I have a choice. Many people don't; Katie has no choice. So, though I would love to just give in and let my hair grow, I'm not giving in.

Why is it so bad? Well friends, I guess it's because people are just mean. People stare, and not in a way that says, "Why doesn't she have hair?" but it's more of a, "What the hell is wrong with that girl?" I get pointed at, giggled at, and the stink eye (and it's NOT just the way their face is, haha). Surprisingly, it is overwhelming how much of the crap I get comes from young adults 20 years of age all the way up to older people. Sad. People can be so rude! I don't usually let it bother me, but last week at a high school I was stared at, laughed at, pointed at, and that was kind of unexpected. I went to play volleyball in a gym and left with as much confidence in myself as I have in my volleyball Wasn't my best of days.

Eyes can hurt. Words are one thing, but body language pierces the heart of others if you aren't careful. I learned that I need to be fully aware of the looks I give others, the moments I choose to laugh, and the way I react.

I am bald by choice remember. What if I had no choice and I was treated the way I am sometimes. I can't even put into words how that must feel for sick people. For my Katie, I empathize fully. It's not always fun to be different.

To end on a more positive note, I have friends I hold closer to my heart than any small rude gesture I receive. I have those who pick me up and encourage me. I am a fully blessed girl. And a tired one today I may need to come back around and edit this post, because who knows if I'm making any sense :) American Idol concert last night with one of my favorite girls in the world. Road trips are wonderfully exhausting.

With love.

Wednesday, August 19

There really is heart warming good in this world, dig deep.

Two short stories. Aaaand go:

First off, at Scheel's. I've been desperately searching for a winter hat with ear flaps. So out of season, but I just get cold. So, I head for the sporting goods store in hopes of a skiing section of some sort. I find nothing, so after browsing, I ask a woman if there are any winter hats..just to be sure. She looks at me for a moment and says that she doesn't think they have anything out for that time of year yet. I simply shrug and say, "Alright, thanks!" and turn to walk away. She then stops me and asks me to follow her. I imagined she must have had some epiphany of where the hats were, so I followed. Then she takes me to this big door and tells me to wait a minute. So I stand there, wondering why I've been lead into the back. She then comes out with a huge box of winter hats and tells me, "These aren't supposed to be out yet, but you just go ahead and search through to see if you find one you like." Hm. This is where it clicked that she probably thought I was sick. So, I kindly said that she didn't need to do this and after going back and forth for a minute I thank her with a smile and go on my way. I am not sick, and I don't NEED a hat. I just wanted one. This lady went behind the scenes for me so I could have a winter hat. It seems like maybe I used my bald head to milk it here, but I kindly denied, and actually found out that there are people who genuinely care for others. I think a person who is sick should be treated special every once in a while. They go through complete hell sometimes, and a gracious smile and someone going above and beyond may be embarrassing to someone who is sick, but it shows that there is compassion in this broken world.


Sephora. I needed new foundation. I was way excited because Bare Essentials had a new line of matte powder foundation. So I enter the store and ask for help in finding the right shade. The lady was really sweet to me and even tested them out on my skin. All protocol for this store. Then I am on my way to the check out counter and she rings me up, then throws in a free sample of lip balm stuff. Again, normal for them. But she then pulls me in and tells me that she is opening this makeup brush and giving it to me because it hasn't been put out on the shelf yet. It was her little secret. That, not so much normal. She gave me that look of pity a little bit, and that she was doing all she could to try to make my day a good one. I didn't really think about this until I told my mom the story and she said, "Oh the lady thought you had cancer, I'm sure." I then put two and two together.

I don't know how it would feel, being sick. Being bald is one thing, but having cancer and being bald not by choice...a whole different ball park. However, though the special treatment gets embarrassing I'm sure, and the looks of pity get sickening after a while, it must be nice to have those kind of people around. I can have such an array of looks on the street. Every child EVER stares because they don't get it. Girls with luscious blonde locks and skin tight clothes with gobs of makeup on their faces look and me like I'm disgusting. Guys don't really look at me at all, unless it's a look of confusion or pity. It's never really the whole "up down" look. That's beside the point I guess. Anyway, it just is refreshing to be treated well every once in a while, rather than stared at. It's nice to have a smile rather than a raised eye brow. I'll always remember the way I've felt from different peoples' looks. It has been teaching me a lot about how sometimes, a move I make can make or break someone's day. Scary, but frighteningly true.

Have a warm heart. Love unconditionally, even from afar. Fill yourself with compassion. Smile.

Sunday, August 16

You know people are gonna think you're...

These seven words begin many of my conversations. Ones with people I love, and ones with people I've just met. It's funny how concerned others are about what people think of me. I happen to be just fine with what most people think, because it truly doesn't matter. However, to most people it definitely does.

I was getting my eyebrows waxed on thursday last week, because really that's the only hair I have on my head and so I should probably keep it decent. A lady named Nancy was the one who chose to take my walk-in appointment. I sit in the chair and lay back onto the porcelain sink...which I think they should invest in making those sinks comfortable but thats a for a different time. Anyway, Nancy didn't wait sixty seconds to ask, "So why you shave your head? You sick or you have a cause?" I expected this question, who wouldn't ask? I explained a little bit, and she thought it was really cool. She said I looked really great without hair, and I'm one in a million who could pull it off. Really generous with the compliments I feel.

However, I had no idea what was coming! She suddenly looks down at me, really serious faced, and says, "You know people are gonna think you're a lesbian." Hm. Then she goes on to ask if I have a boyfriend. Which I embarrassingly answer if that helps anything. But I informed her that I liked guys, and that I wore the hat usually so people wouldn't think that. Not that it even matters. And if I was a lesbian? How would that change anything? Even worse, I felt the urge to defend myself, as if I should care. Instead of making the hat wearing comment, I shouldn't have said anything. I could have left it at I don't have a boyfriend and let her debate my orientation herself. I laughed a lot after this event, just because the whole situation was a bit awkward. I just met a woman who told me people probably think I'm a lesbian. Solid.

This story also gets me wondering...what if I were actually sick? How would it feel to be bald, not by choice, and have someone tell you that people probably think you're a lesbian? Nice. Maybe she wouldn't have said anything. Who knows...people like to open their big mouths more often than I'd noticed pre-hair loss; pre-hair loss, funny terminology. And then...there's the whole factor of her not knowing if I was or was not a lesbian. I met that woman 5 minutes prior to the question. What if I actually were a lesbian? Then what? That could have been one painful conversation for that cosmotologist. Running your words through your brain before they escape your mouth would probably be a good idea for Nancy, and for people in general.

Even getting my eyebrows waxed turned into an exciting afternoon. Never a dull moment.

Friday, August 14

Facebook Note

This year has been one of complete blessings for me. I attended the second semester of college at Nebraska Christian College with wonderful professors, students, and classes; I know God has me right where I am supposed to be. I've been completely blown away by the relationships I've built at NCC with students and adults alike. The worship arts professor, my choir director Ron is one of these wonderful people. I've been able to really meet his family and spend time with Ron and Ashley's four hilarious, and at times crazy, children. I love this family deeply; Ron and Ashley have been two wonderful people who I look up to very much.In March this year, their 6 year old daughter Katie was diagnosed with cancer, a Wilm's tumor. After surgeries to remove the tumor and prepare Katie for treatment, she began chemo almost right away it seemed; with chemo the loss of hair is common as many of you know. This summer I was able to go on two NCC choir tours with Ron, and his family was with us for a large part of these 3 weeks. In that time, I really connected with Katie even more than we had before. We were pals, but after hanging out so much we really were like best friends, she felt like a little sister. We talked a lot about her cancer, how she felt about it, and how she felt physically. Sometimes these conversations could get tough. Katie really struggles with feeling beautiful while she has no hair. She continuously asks for reassurance that she is cute, and often states that she feels ugly and terrible and can't understand why anyone can look at her. She feels that everyone is laughing.

Beauty is not in your outward appearance. So many people can tell Katie this, but who means it? The majority of people who tell Katie that she is beautiful have perfect hair, and cute clothes, and makeup on, and tanned skin. People always are quick to say that beauty is not on the outside, but it's on the inside...however when do they mean it? I have been one of those people. I like to look good, I like my hair perfectly straight (my friends can attest to that), I like my makeup to cover any blemish I find, I want to have nice legs and tanned skin and painted nails. I know these things don't matter, but I make sure to always check the mirror before I step out the door. Then Katie happened. The outside all of a sudden meant nothing to me. She only sees the outside of herself, but I see both the inside and out. She has no hair and is missing two front teeth and I think she is one stunning young lady. Her dimple is adorable, her eyes pierce your heart, and her funny faces will make my stomach hurt from laughing. More than those things, her heart is amazing and her thoughts are more kind than any other 6 year old I've met. She thinks about others often. Katie is so considerate and is always so thankful if you go out of your way for her, which she never expects. These beautiful qualities on the inside shine through, beyond that absolutely gorgeous bald head.

I felt so moved by my friend Katie. I returned from Kentucky at the beginning of July with a huge weight on my heart for her. I didn't know how I could help Katie see that she is full of beauty. I prayed and sat in thought, and I'd talked about shaving my head back in May this year, but I never felt like I was prompted by God. Then, out of nowhere, July 15th I was at dinner with friends and we started talking about shaving my head, and they were all supportive of this idea I had. I decided to research what I could do with my hair if I did shave it all off, and it turned out I could donate my hair for a wig to be made (either to Pantene Pro-V or to Locks of Love, I'm still deciding on which organization). This ability to donate my hair pulled the trigger. I knew this was something I had to do. The next morning I called my hair dresser and made an appointment for that evening, because that was the day for me, July 16th. I just felt like God finally gave me the green light, and that this was a way I could help Katie to see beauty.

So here I stand today, with shorter hair than most women, but I still feel beautiful. I know I am beautiful because I am God's, and He made me just the way I am supposed to be. I want to keep my hair short until Katie is done with chemo, it is kind of nice not worrying about my hair anyway :) and she loves to be bald together. My hair will grow back, like Katie's will soon, but that can't make me any more beautiful. We are all beautiful on the inside, that's the only place that matters.

Since shaving my hair off, I've seen Katie twice and it has brought up great conversation. Last week we talked about the heart of a person, and how being pretty comes from there. That people are kind of like books. We talked about how there's the saying of not judging a book by it's cover, because books with beautiful covers might not be super exciting books. However the old cover that is torn and has stains, it gets overlooked sometimes, but the story on the inside could be one of excitement, fun, and laughter. People are the same. Sometimes the outside doesn't do justice to what a person holds on the inside. Sometimes even when you don't feel pretty, you still are because the inside doesn't change.

Being bald has also been a humbling experience for me. Katie is right, you don't always feel beautiful being bald. I've learned to find my beauty from within, and to get help from God in those moments. It has strengthened me more than I could have imagined. I get frustrated when people call me a "hero" or a girl with such a great heart...why you ask? Because, it's not me. I am just an ordinary girl, a human, being used by an extraordinary God. He makes all things beautiful. He finds beauty in pain, heartbreak, weakness, and in all of the ugly things in life. I've learned so much through Katie's battle, and I am only one of the dozens...hundreds...of people that Katie's story is going to change. God is using Katie to do great things, she just needs encouragement, love and prayer along the way. God will take care of the rest.

This blog will be one that will show readers what the world can do to a person. What eyes can say to someone, and how beauty can be so skewed. I plan to fill this blog with experiences I have with other people, how being bald impacts my life, and what other people say about my lack of hair. I think I've learned so much about life, about beauty, and about happiness from this experience.